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Member since: Sun Feb 14, 2016, 06:36 PM
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A reminder

Hopefully many have already read the thread about Liz Specht's article "The Math", written in early March.

The reason for the reminder is:

We’re looking at about 1M US cases by the end of April, 2M by ~May 5, 4M by ~May 11, and so on. Exponentials are hard to grasp, but this is how they go. 4/n


Today, April 29th, total US cases: 1,055,455

Thus, it's probably worthwhile to consider the other predictions written there.

When you posted this, I wasn't questioningly the virus origin

However, recently I've begun to consider whether it could have been an accidental lab release. So far, I am not convinced, either way.

A hypothetical scenario goes like this: animal specimens are collected and brought into the lab. The typical experiments are performed, such that the various viruses are cultured and isolated and characterized. Careless handling of samples results in transfer to lab personnel. Lab personnel transfers non-lethal version of virus unknowingly to surrounding community, where the virus quickly mutates to the current lethal form.

Unfortunately, this paper relies on, (IMHO), a weak argument here: (bold mine)

Furthermore, a hypothetical generation of SARS-CoV-2 by cell culture or animal passage would have required prior isolation of a progenitor virus with very high genetic similarity, which has not been described. Subsequent generation of a polybasic cleavage site would have then required repeated passage in cell culture or animals with ACE2 receptors similar to those of humans, but such work has also not previously been described.

The scenario above that I proposed doesn't depend upon the publication of characterization of the virus that escapes the lab. I realize that the Nature paper must rely upon the literature to form it's argument, but reality doesn't.

The virus may well have mutated in vitro in the lab, even unnoticed and undetected by the lab, and still managed to escape.

Further, according to job postings that were seen in Nov and Dec 2019 from labs in Wuhan, there was active recruiting to work on characterizing novel bat viruses -- strongly suggesting that there were plenty of uncharacterized viruses in the lab.

Getting back to the knowns: there's a bat virus with high homology to SARS-CoV2, but it's RBD doesn't match. There's a pangolin virus with an RBD that matches, but the rest of the virus doesn't match as well as the bat virus does. Neither of those viruses have the polybasic cleavage site, nor the glycan feature (which presumably mutated within humans).

At this point in the story, it feels like a toss-up.

I think the only conclusion this paper can really make convincingly, is that the virus wasn't deliberately engineered.

But I can still see how it may have come from a lab.

I know zero about zoonotic dynamics, but what is the proposed sequence of events for an assumed wet market transfer? A bat infects a pangolin, which then ends up in a Wuhan market, where it infects humans?

Even if a bat infects a pangolin, the virus still needs to recombine with the pangolin virus to get the correct RBD. Or, do both viruses coexist in the pangolin and both infect the human, where the recombination then occurs? Are bats and pangolins living together naturally, or only in the wet markets?

I can envision all kinds of scenarios, but have no idea how likely or even possible they are.

There's just too much to know, sigh.

Does the origin of the virus really matter?

Wait, please understand what I'm asking before you reply.

I'm not asking about the response (or lack thereof) to the outbreak.

I'm not asking whether there is scientific value in pinpointing the precise origin.

What I'm wondering is what the difference will be if we ultimately discover that the virus was accidentally released from a research lab, versus that it got to us via a bat (or pangolin) via the wet market in Wuhan.

In either case, I will assume it was an accident (for the sake of this thread, please don't bring into it otherwise).

In either case, the need for stronger preventative measures exists for both, and are no doubt being dealt with by the Chinese.

In either case, China is clearly at fault and should accept responsibility, whatever that means.

So then, does it matter?

I think it does, but I want to hear other opinions.

Every time someone talks about reopening the economy

Answer back with: sure, when we have testing available for everyone.

What? He said we already do? When did he say that?

In other words, use it as an opportunity to turn it back to Trump, his lying, and most importantly, the absolutely critical role that testing plays in this drama, both before the virus got a toehold here, and going forward as the key to returning to a semi-functioning society.


(it really is)



This reporter finally got him to hear the question

PROPAGANDA, paid for by taxpayers, aired from the White House

Said John King on CNN right now

Another reason there should be massive widespread testing

Imagine screening millions and millions and millions of people, especially folks in the high risk categories.

And taking detailed medical histories, or at least, what current medications are being taken.

Compile all that data and look for trends.

Voila. You now have some promising leads as to which currently prescribed medications might be prophylactic for Covid-19.

Know what would be funny?

Seeing how much positive attention Boris Johnson is getting must be making Trump awfully jealous.

Now, when Johnson recovers (he will), Trump is really going to be itching for a way to one-up him. He may even somehow *let* himself get infected, feeling certain that HCQ will save him. Just imagine the press, were that to happen! He'd practically be guaranteed re-election!

Only then, HCQ fails him...

(Of course, being the coward he is, he'd probably try to fake being sick, and have a fake positive test.)

Is Trump lying about 300 million masks on order?

I heard Gov. Newsome today speaking about how he used the purchasing power of the great state of California to order 200 million masks.

Then, later, I heard Trump say nearly the same thing, except (of course!) it was 300 million.

Did he just say that to try to one-up Newsome??

I mean, we all know how Petty and juvenile he is, but did he order masks or not? How will we know?

Penn Launches Trial to Evaluate Hydroxychloroquine to Treat, Prevent COVID-19

They are currently enrolling people, so check the link if you are interested in participating.



PHILADELPHIA – A new trial led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania will evaluate whether the drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can benefit people infected with COVID-19, as well as whether taking the drug preventatively may help people avoid infection altogether. The study, called Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 with HCQ (PATCH), is currently enrolling patients in three separate sub-studies (NCT04329923).

PATCH sub-study 1 will evaluate HCQ compared to placebo in infected patients who are quarantined at home. PATCH sub-study 2 will evaluate high dose compared to low dose HCQ in hospitalized patients. PATCH sub-study 3 will evealuate HCQ compared to placebo prophylactically in health care workers working with COVID-19 patients to evaluate whether it can prevent infection. Sub-studies 1 and 3 are double-blind placebo controlled studies, meaning neither the patient nor the doctor will know whether they are taking HCQ or placebo until the end of the study. Importantly, if the patient or health care worker starts getting worse, they can be “unblinded”, and the trial allows crossover to HCQ if the patient was assigned placebo.


The first sub-study of the trial will test HCQ in patients who are infected and are well enough to go home, but who need to be in quarantine. Quarantine can be prolonged for some people who have a worse case of the illness, and can impose significant economic, emotional, and psychological hardship on the patient and his or her family. Family members living with a quarantined COVID-19 patient are at high risk of getting the disease themselves. In order to be released from quarantine, they must meet certain criteria according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): patients must go 72 hours without a fever, see their symptoms improve, and go seven days since their symptoms first appeared. The primary goal of PATCH sub-study 1 is to find out whether the drug reduces the number of days the patient stays quarantined. Researchers were forced to overcome unique logistical hurdles, including arranging for virtual consents from patients and home delivery of HCQ doses.

The second sub-study of the trial will test HCQ in patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 to see if it can reduce the time to discharge. Patients in this group will also be randomized into a high dose or low dose group. No one will receive a placebo. The correct dose of HCQ for treating COVID-19 is not currently known and this study will provide valuable information to answer that question.

The third sub-study will test whether HCQ can work as a preventative medicine to stop infection in health care workers at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Researchers plan to enroll 200 workers in the sub-study.

more at links
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